Maybe you’ve noticed: The calendar has been creeping steadily forward, the days are getting increasingly longer and the weather is (finally) starting to level out. In other words: Spring is here! And that means spring cleaning can’t be far behind.

Spring cleaning isn’t just an annual event that’s tightly woven with historical significance, it’s also a great way to clear your home of allergens that could be affecting your physical health and clutter that could be detrimental to your mental health. It’s also an excellent way to protect your property values and create the overall aesthetic you want for your home.

If you’re not sure where to get started, our spring cleaning checklist may help. Here are our best tips:

1. Before You Clean, Declutter

We’ve called decluttering “the magic secret” to spring cleaning success – and we mean it! In most homes, excess clutter tends to start collecting around the time the winter holidays begin, and its presence can be emotionally overwhelming.

In other words, you need to clear things out a bit before you even think about doing a major clean. For a super-fast process:

  • Give everyone in the household a laundry basket and ask them to go through the common areas of the house (living room, kitchen, dining room, bathrooms and game rooms), gather up whatever belongs to them and take the items to their proper locations.
  • Grab a trash bag for things that just need to be discarded, a box or two for anything that needs to go into storage, and a couple more boxes or bags for the donation pile. That gives you a landing place for everything else that may be left.
  • Aim to touch every out-of-place object only once. That may mean making some hard (but necessary) choices about what to keep, what to donate and what to store. When you’re done, everything that doesn’t belong in those rooms should be cleared away.

Tackle some of the biggest “clutter magnets” in your house before you move on to the next part of your spring cleaning process. Generally speaking, that includes entranceways, mudrooms, closets, dresser drawers and storage bins. (Be ruthless – we know you can do it!)

2. Approach the Main Cleaning One Room at a Time

The next trick is to break your spring cleaning down into bite-sized jobs that you can tackle one day (or evening) at a time. Here are the things you should focus on:

Living Room:

This is the heart of your home, where you probably visit with guests, spend time with your beloved and watch movies with the kids, so dive into this deep clean first.

  • Clean out the TV cabinet, dust off the bookshelves and wipe down the tchotchkes.
  • Wash all the pillows, blankets and small rugs.
  • Pull the furniture away from the walls and wash the baseboards.
  • Sweep and mop hardwood floors, and shampoo any carpets or large rugs.
  • Dust the ceiling fans and light fixtures.
  • Wash the windows and wipe down any blinds.
  • Take down any curtains or other window treatments and wash them.

Kitchen and Dining:

These two rooms are probably more like “Grand Central Station,” especially during a busy week.

  • Wash any rugs and mop and shine the hard floors.
  • Clean the oven, the microwave and the coffee pot.
  • Go through the fridge, clear out the old condiments and wipe everything down.
  • Go through the pantry and clear out anything that’s close to (or past) the expiration date.
  • Clean the cabinet doors and wipe down the outside of all appliances.
  • Give the “junk drawer” (if you have one) an overhaul.
  • Dust the ceiling fans and any decorative items.

Bathrooms:

If you keep up with your house cleaning regularly, you may not have a lot to do, but this time of year is a great time to:

  • Wash the bathmats and replace the shower curtain liner.
  • Clean the floor and shower grout.
  • Deep clean the cabinets and throw out old items.
  • De-lime the shower head and the faucets.

Bedrooms:

If your home is like a lot of homes, your bedrooms may be the most neglected. Improve your comfort levels by doing the following:

  • Purge old items from your closet and organize what’s left.
  • Wash and dry all the sheets, blankets and comforters.
  • Wash the drapes and clean the window blinds.
  • Clean any ceiling fans and overhead light fixtures.
  • Rotate and flip the mattress (after you sweep it clean).
  • Inspect your pillows and either wash them or replace them.

Game Rooms and Offices:

Finally, tackle the areas where you keep electronics, paperwork or office supplies. While you need to do the basics (sweeping, dusting and clearing away clutter), you should also:

  • Organize your files and pack away anything that can go into storage.
  • Shred old papers, bills and other documents that need to be destroyed.
  • Use canned air to clean all the electronics, keyboards, computers and peripherals.

3. Don’t Forget to Spruce Up the Outside

The exterior of your home may have suffered a little over the winter. While you may be eager to get started on the yard, don’t forget to give the outside of your home a serious inspection. Check for:

  • Lifted, cracked or missing shingles on the roof
  • Gutters that have bent or blown away in the weather
  • Cracks and chips in windows (particularly those facing the road)
  • Stains on stone patios that need to be addressed
  • Bird feeders, bat houses and bee baths that need to be sanitized
  • Siding that may need to be power washed

A little quick attention to these things now means you won’t have to worry about doing these jobs once the weather turns unpleasantly warm.

Look: We realize that everybody has busy lives. It can be hard to fit spring cleaning into an already-hectic schedule packed with obligations to work, school, family and friends. It’s okay if you aren’t up to handling the whole job at once – or at all! You can always handle the clutter and then hire some professional help to get through the hard parts. (We promise not to tell!) The important thing is that you end up with a home that feels clean, comfortable and ready for the seasons to come.

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